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Estimating the leaf area of urban trees

Home Research i-Tree Eco i-Tree science Estimating the leaf area of urban trees

Summary

Ecosystem service assessment tools, such as the i-Tree suite of tools, use leaf area of trees to quantify and value the ecosystem services that an urban forest delivers.

Status

This research began in 2014 and is currently ongoing.

Research objectives

This project aims to determine typical leaf areas of deciduous open grown trees in UK urban settings. 

A preliminary study has determined the leaf area for three tree species commonly found in urban environments using the HemiView Canopy Analysis Software (see the Publications section on this page). The results were compared to allometric relationships to regression equations produced by Nowak (1996) and used by the i-Tree eco model.

Future research will seek to identify the best way to estimate leaf area for open grown UK urban trees; comparing HemiView with leaf area estimated using from other methods, including the destructive sampling of trees.

Publications

Vaz Monteiro, M., Doick, K. J., Lawrence, V., Wilson, J. (2018). Estimation of leaf area for open-grown urban trees in Great Britain using HemiView. Arboricultural Journal, 40 (1), 3-15

Contact

Kieron Doick

Forestry Commission Policy

Climate change represents a significant threat to urban infrastructure, environmental quality and the health of city dwellers. Green infrastructure is itself at risk through greater extremes in temperature fluctuation, consequent flourishing of tree pests and diseases, drought and perceived increased risk of subsidence leading to tree removal.

There is no clear system for determining the biophysical interactions, benefits, or managing potential trade-offs within a risk-benefit context, so as to optimally support the protection and sustainable regeneration of UK towns and cities. The Urban Trees and Greenspace in a Changing Climate Programme intends to develop such a system through consolidating and building upon existing work to provide the evidence base for urban trees, definition and communication of best practice guidance, and robust assessment, evaluation and dissemination tools so that the risks and benefits of urban tree placement can be more fully assessed by society, policy makers and planners.

The Programme also maintains the centre of excellence which FR has developed over several decades on land regeneration practices to establish and maintain urban greenspaces on former brownfield and contaminated sites.

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Research

Urban trees and greenspace in a changing climate

Research to understand the contribution that urban trees make with respect to: the resilience of current and planned urban tree stocks to climate change, their role in regulating temperatures, and water management in urban areas

Status current